Angels outfielder Mike Trout named Baseball America’s minor league player of the year

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Mike Trout appears to be in the majors to stay, but today Baseball America named the 20-year-old Angels outfielder their minor league player of the year.

Trout ranked second to Bryce Harper’s on Baseball America‘s preseason prospect ranking and had a spectacular year at Double-A, batting .326 with 11 homers, 42 total extra-base hits, 45 walks, and 33 steals in 91 games despite being a teenager for nearly the entire season. He was the youngest player in the entire Texas League.

Jeremy Hellickson was BA‘s minor league player of the year in 2010 and is now a leading Rookie of the Year candidate for the Rays, throwing 164 innings with a 2.90 ERA that ranks fifth in the AL. Trout figures to exhaust his Rookie of the Year eligibility while playing regularly for the Angels down the stretch, but in terms of long-term upside there are few players in all of baseball who can compete with the 2009 first-round pick.

For a whole lot more on Trout, check out J.J. Cooper’s excellent article.

Jim Hickey steps down as Cubs’ pitching coach

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The Cubs announced on Tuesday that Jim Hickey has stepped down as the pitching coach due to personal reasons. The club will begin a search for a replacement.

Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said in a statement, “Jim Hickey notified us yesterday of his decision to step down as pitching coach and leave the organization for personal reasons. We thank Jim for his season with the Cubs and his positive impact on our pitchers. Jim has our full support and we all wish him well.”

Hickey, 57, spent over a decade as a coach in the Rays organization before joining the Cubs for the past season, reuniting with Joe Maddon. The Cubs’ starting staff ranked 10th among all 30 teams with a 3.84 ERA and the bullpen posted an NL-best 3.35 ERA.